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Willmar volleyball tourney today filled with contenders

WILLMAR -- The Willmar Cardinal Volleyball Invitational, now in its 12th year, could be the most competitive of all this year.

Each pool has no less than two teams that could legitimately end up in the final.

In Pool A, Willmar (10-6), Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (17-1) and Benson (13-4) will battle for supremacy. Willmar had been sharing the lead in the Central Lakes Conference most of the season until two recent losses to Alexandria and Rocori. BBE leads the Central Minnesota Conference and appears headed for another 30-win season and a possible state berth.

Benson is currently tied for the West Central South Conference lead with Yellow Medicine East. Breckenridge (15-5) is also having a strong season and could also threaten to win the pool.

In Pool B, newcomer Renville County West (10-5) has been an area power for several seasons and is contending for the Camden North Conference crown. The Jaguars replace Buffalo Lake-Hector, which pulled out of the tournament because of a heavy schedule. The Mustangs had played in the previous 11 Willmar tournaments. New London-Spicer (17-2) is currenly tied with St. Cloud Cathedral for the West Central North Conference lead. Sibley East (13-7) is also having a steallar season. Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City (6-12) is also in the pool.

BBE won the title last season en route to a state tournament berth and a 30-5 season.

The tournament begins at 9 a.m. at the high school.